Right now we are living through divisive times. People have separated into groups that seem far apart in many respects. There is a lot of friction. …
Friction creates energy. If you rub two sticks together in the right way you get fire; a thing which can either: cook your food, or burn your house down.
I think we differ here James.
To me, any context that forces people into conflicting groups is bad – it is a threat to the survival of us all.
Any analogy that can be interpreted as people being simply fuel for a process is dangerous to us all.
Any set of social conditions that dries people out (sucks away their basic cooperative humanity and turns them into something that can ignite and burn with anger and resentment) is dangerous to us all (at recursive levels).
I see the current focus on money and economic value (which give humans value only in so far as they can contribute to reducing the scarcity of something to someone else, and gives them no value simply for their existence as the most complex entities we know of in existence) as delivering existential level risk to us all.
We are all individual human beings, and we need personal security and personal freedom, and those things can only exist if we all acknowledge the reality of the responsibilities that come from our existence in social and ecological systems, and the reality that real freedom demands responsible action from us all (there are real social and ecological limits, and we must each discover and respect them, to the best of our limited abilities).
We are the most socially cooperative entities we know of in reality.
Real freedom only comes from cooperative contexts, competition always tends to drive out diversity, and force systems to some low point on the complexity landscape.
Reality seems beyond any reasonable doubt to be more complex than we can possibly comprehend, ever – and that goes for each and every one of us too.
It is also real that we must act in reality, and in order to act we must each make our imperfect and limited models of reality and each other with the time and tools available to us, and use them to make the best ethical choices we can, to the best of our limited abilities.
If you want some congruence try:
Real freedom demands cooperation (anything else eventually leads to extinction).
Cooperation demands morality and ethics.
Our many imperfections demand tolerance and acceptance of the many mistakes we must inevitably make.
Our complexity demands respect (for all of us, by all of us).
I agree that we need hope.
I just see that framing things that way has far too many dangers, is far too easy to interpret as something heading in a direction that is not survivable.
I have hope for the survival and prosperity of humanity, far more so than 50 years ago, but not from competitive situations.
I am clear that systems based in competition cannot be stabilized, and are not places I wish occupy. Systems based in cooperation can have competitive aspects, but it is the fundamental cooperative base that gives them stability.
I have been a serious student of evolution for over 50 years, the biology, the biochemistry, the cybernetics and systems, the strategy. Evolution starts simple and rapidly becomes extremely complex.
Competitive environments stay simple.
Complexity always requires cooperative environments to emerge.
We are the most complex systems we know of.
We are fundamentally cooperative – every level.
Sure, we can all compete if the situation demands it, and such environments are always high risk for the majority.
Our well being as communities demands fundamentally cooperative behaviour. Anything you have learned or read contrary to that is essentially political dogma spread for someone else’s benefit.
And cooperation cannot be naive.
We need to cooperate with eyes open, alert for individuals of groups or systems cheating on the cooperative; and we must be willing to do what it takes to remove such cheating strategies and bring those individuals or groups back to a fundamentally cooperative modality.
So it is not simple.
It is complex.
It is freedom that comes with serious responsibilities, every level.
We are now in a world where what are essentially cheating strategies are generally dominant.
We all have a role in changing that – each an every one of us.
Doing so will require a lot of effort.
It takes work to build trust networks.
It takes courage to trust one’s own judgement and speak out against injustice.
Cooperation demands that of us.
It isn’t easy.
It demands heroism from every individual, every level, ongoingly.
The hero’s journey isn’t for some mythic character in a movie, it is for each an every one of us, to the best of our limited abilities, every day.